Tips for cutting hardwood?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by jase858, May 20, 2010.

  1. jase858

    jase858 Newbie

    Anyone have any tips on cutting hardwood?

    So I bought a 1/8 chord of mixed hardwood (Cherry, Apple, and some oak) from a arborist here in NorCal, thinking I can save some money by chuncking it myself. I went and bought a 10" Hitachi Miter Saw ($99) from Lowes to chunk the wood up. I've already shattered the fence (cast aluminum guard) on the damn thing as the wood would occasionally get stuck in the blade while cutting and spin at whatever RPMS and force.

    I asked my uncle who's hobby is wood working about what I did wrong, and he told me that I need to dry the wood out first and use a thiner blade. and get a better saw like dewalt.

    I've had to tear off the bark from the wood as well before cutting through it. It's tedious, but I read somewhere that the bark has creasote which is bad for cooking. Am I wrong?

    Did i mention there might be termites in the wood? My uncle said to throw the stuff away, but I plan on smoking the whole lot on Memorial Day.

    I'm a newb at this so any advice helps.
  2. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    the wood needs to be supported properly to use a mitersaw, otherwise it will pinch and ....well you know the results. needless to say it's very dangerous.
    Use a band saw or even a sawzall
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah, for pieces like that a band saw works better.... unless they are big enough to chainsaw? If they are big enough to chainsaw you could cut them into 4" lengths. Then use a good sharp hatchet to chop the bark off of the O.D.

    Generally you do want to let the wood season. If it is to green it will cause thick whit smoke and ruin your food. [​IMG]
  4. mythmaster

    mythmaster Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yeah, I think that you want to let is sit for a year to dry out.
  5. jase858

    jase858 Newbie

    @DanMcG...pinch indeed. Good thing we were wearing glasses and gloves. My uncle said to use clamps next time, but with the miter saw fence gone, im concerned it will pinch again. I had to use a sawzaw to get the pinched piece out, and that took awhile cutting. Band saw is a good idea. How about table saw?

    @JIRodriguez and mythmaster..Anyway to speed up the season process, like leaving it the chunks out in the sun???

    Maybe this $40 wasnt well spent after all.
  6. mythmaster

    mythmaster Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Know that I haven't actually done this. I've just always read that you should let the wood sit out for a year so that it will dry out before you try to use it for smoking.

    I don't think that you wasted your money at all, I just think that you need to have some patience with it.

    Others here have done this and can correct me if I'm wrong.
  7. ncdodave

    ncdodave Smoking Fanatic

    from experience use a band saw. I cheated last month and used an electric chain saw. but I dont "chunk" as most people think of chunking. I cut my wood into 8" to10" lenngths. I did try using a friends commercial wood shredder once. It did a nice job but had to blow the mulched wood in the back of a covered truck then clean it out. A commercial mulcher does well but i prefer the short sticks. They work very well in my CB Pro
  8. toxie

    toxie Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Band saw is the way to go for me. Been there and done what you are doing. The wood will pinch wet or dry and then... Duck!! Very dangerous.

    I got a 14" band saw and it works very slick even on green wood. I recently cut down a Mulberry and split it into about 3-4 inch diameter pieces which were about 15 inches long. Then I took these over to the band saw and chunked them up to about 2-3 inches long... Worked beautiful and again the wood is still green. I don't burn the wood green, I was just experimenting to see how it would work. I use a 3/4" wide blade 6 teeth per inch as this will give you a lot better control over the cut and cut a good deal faster.

    Good luck and be careful out there... [​IMG]
  9. disbe81

    disbe81 Smoke Blower

    If you cut it up into smaller chunks it will certainly dry out and season faster, possibly within 2-3 months. You can also take some chunks and put them in the oven around 350 or so for about half an hour, then turn the oven off and leave em in there for a few hours and that will season a small batch you could use for testing things out for now. You could also make a nice bon fire, and throw your chunks into it, let them blacken up but not turn into charcoal, spray em off with water, and that will burn most of the moistness out of em and then you can use em for smoking.

    As far as the termites go, i have used wood that had woodworm in it without knowing, and it did not effect the taste or make anyone sick. I cant see how it could be harmful myself, probably just a little gross for most people to think about.
  10. biggeorge50

    biggeorge50 Fire Starter

    I split the wood to the size I want and then cut it up using a chop saw.
  11. You have experienced how dangerous your mitre saw was DON"T RISK it with a table saw if it binds that piece is coming back at you. It can cause major injury or even death. Just my 2 cents.
  12. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If I had bought wood with termites I'd be asking for a full refund, that's bullchit. Get rid of that infected wood. If they spread into your home you're in for a lot of trouble.
  13. chainsaw cuts wood great!!!!!
  14. lugnutz

    lugnutz Smoking Fanatic

    The smaller you cut it the faster it will dry, also if you increase the surface area by splitting you get the same results. One thing that may work would be to put the wood in your smoker/grill after a cook and let the wood "cook". if you have seperate burn and cook chambers I would suggest the cook chamber, if not toss the chunks onto the coals and close the smoker/grill down so that the wood will get hot but not burn.
  15. eaglewing

    eaglewing Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I use my 12" Dewalt Miter Saw all the time. You just have to place it snug against the backstop and go slow...

    I bought a whole pickup truck load of Hickory last year for only $70, cut HALF of that up into 2-3" Chucks and sold that on Craigslist for the same amount I paid for the whole load... I still have a nice load of wood left to this day and I still use my Mitersaw to cut it with...

    Of course I am a tradesman and I use one all the time so I guess I just know how without all that kickback and binding...

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